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Meal Pattern Minute: Crediting Tomatoes, Avocados and Pumpkins

January 12, 2023

There are several foods that are considered fruits by botanists, but are part of the vegetable component in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Botanists classify a food as a fruit when the fleshy plant part surrounds its seeds. However, for nutritional and culinary purposes, these foods could be considered vegetables rather than fruits. The nutritional classification of food considers not just botany, but a food’s nutrient content, its use in meals, and taste. The Fruit Group includes botanical fruits that are sweet and/or tart in taste. The Vegetable Group includes those botanical fruits that are not sweet or tart and usually consumed with other vegetables or as a vegetable. Knowing this information, do we classify pumpkin, tomato and avocado as part of the fruit or vegetable group? 


Well, it only takes a minute to find out! Listen to our nutrition education specialist, Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD to learn more on how these foods classify in the CACFP.  


After you’ve watched the video, here are some additional resources to bookmark on your electronic device to refer to for future reference.  

Both tomatoes and avocados are considered vegetables. Refer to the Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs for a list of creditable fruits and vegetables. While the Food Buying Guide provides a relatively comprehensive list of foods commonly served in Child Nutrition Programs, it does not include information on every possible vegetable or fruit that can be part of a reimbursable meal. CACFP centers and homes should work with their sponsor or State Agency, as appropriate, when they have questions about the crediting of foods. 


Explore and try some of these recipes incorporating pumpkin, tomatoes or avocado:

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